Democracy, state capacity and civil wars: a new perspective

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5 Citazioni (Scopus)


This paper explores the intertwined relationship between democracy and state capacity, i.e. the effectiveness of state sovereignty over its territory and population, in affecting the probability of civil wars’ onset. This work aims at providing a fresh new look on this relationship by exploiting the recent release of a new dataset of institutional indicators (provided within the V-Dem project), that allows to analyse the effect of democracy and state capacity on conflicts’ onset. The analysis is performed through a logit model, investigating 142 countries over the period 1950-2014. The paper shows that once state capacity is fully taken into account, the inverted-U shaped relationship between democracy and civil wars is no longer robust to alternative measures of democracy, and that state capacity is the crucial factor in providing a decrease in the probability of the onset of a civil conflict. Furthermore, by implementing an interactive model, the paper shows that state capacity counterbalances the effect of democracy when incompatibility is over government, by generating an overall decreasing effect on the probability of civil war.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)427-437
Numero di pagine11
RivistaPeace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016


  • civil war
  • democracy
  • quantitative analysis
  • state capacity


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